(ECNS) – More than half the respondents to a China Youth Daily survey say they have used dating websites, but only a quarter believe the services are reliable.
According to the survey, 56.5 percent say that they or their friends have tried to find a companion using online dating sites, while about 31 percent say they avoid it.
Online dating services suffer from three key issues: fraud committed by fake matchmakers (57 percent), people pretending to seek love but promoting restaurants or expensive wines instead (56.6 percent), and loopholes by websites that allow users to be identified (54.1 percent), the survey shows.
More than 45 percent believe online dating websites have facilitated scams, and 36.4 percent point out a lack of ways to defend their legal rights.
The top three reasons people choose dating websites are "more choices" (56.2 percent), few real-life opportunities to network (53.3 percent), and low cost (53.2 percent), the survey finds.
Su Shirong, who works for a domestic online dating website, says she knows many friends and colleagues who have fallen in love and gotten married after dating online. But she also suggests that users be "sharp-eyed and discerning."
Psychological counselor Tian Geng says an urge to get married quickly also drives many singles to dating websites.
While the Internet has become one of the most popular places for people to meet, the survey shows that only 24.7 percent feel confident about online dating, while 27.9 percent don't think it's reliable.
Wang Jie, who has worked at state-owned enterprises for three years in Beijing, says he is strongly against tactics used by dating sites to persuade him into a relationship, such as playing up expectations from parents.
"Something that should be romantic and gradual feels like online shopping," he says.
The survey also found that conventional ways to find a partner are still popular. More than 65 percent are more likely to trust a person introduced to them by friends, and 54.8 percent favor activities organized by employers (or industry associations) as a way of meeting people.
A total of 2,001 people participated in the survey and 50.4 percent say they have registered with online dating websites.